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Ferdinand declared fit

sports Updated: May 26, 2009 23:55 IST
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Rio Ferdinand eased any lingering fears about his fitness ahead of the Champions League final by coming through his most arduous training session since suffering the calf injury that jeopardised his appearance in Rome.

Ferdinand flew out with the rest of Sir Alex Ferguson’s players on Tuesday after taking a full part in morning training. There was no apparent reaction to the problem that forced him to miss Manchester United’s past four matches. United will train at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow night, and if Ferdinand is fully involved again he is expected to be declared fit to take over from Jonny Evans in the centre of defence against Barcelona, despite Ferguson’s misgivings about Ferdinand not having played since the second leg of the semi-final three weeks ago.

Wenger backs Henry

Arsene Wenger still hopes for a victory this season. The goal he has in mind is not for Arsenal, but for Thierry Henry. Wenger believes his former protégé is in need of a footballing catharsis in Rome.

“The one thing Thierry Henry needs in his career is a successful final,” he says. “What happened to him in 2006, people don’t realise what it means. He played in the Champions League final and he just lost. Then he played the World Cup final and lost on penalties. When you are 30 years old, how much does that hurt? Because you know that might be your last chance to be in there. So for him to do well in the final is very important.”

Already arresting

Two foreigners were arrested on Tuesday morning outside Rome's Stadio Olimpico where Wednesday's Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United will be held, Ansa said.

An Israeli and a person of an as yet unknown nationality were arrested in a joint anti-fraud operation between Italian and English police as they try to stop forged tickets being sold for the showpiece final.

Fakes abound

Italy's anti-fraud police say they have seized 15,000 fake labels with Manchester United and Barcelona logos on the eve of the Champions League final.

Police said that the labels were shipped from China and were seized at Rome's Ciampino airport.

Official Paolo Lauretti said the labels were going to be used to sell "official-looking" T-shirts and other merchandise at the game on Wednesday. He said three Italians were being investigated. Authorities are beefing up security in Rome, setting up patrols in the area around Olympic Stadium and in the city center as well as at airports and subway stations.